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John Jearrard

Drosera x belezeana

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Driving through Dorset over the weekend I had the chance to visit the only know site in the UK for the hybrid Drosera x belezeana (intermedia x rotundifolia).

The plants occur in two small groups, about 100m apart, with a ridge of high ground rising about 6m (wild estimate) between them.

droseraxbelezeana1270608.jpg

I was told that the plants were easy to find - just look for the big red patch - and it was true. When I got home I checked, and the northwest population is visible on Google Earth!

droseraxbelezeana2270608.jpg

The group to the northwest are on flatter ground among fairly lush growth. It is a large cluster of plants that make dense bright red growth. It is assumed that all of the plants are a single clone that has spread vegetatively, so in my opinion they must have been there for a very long time to have spread this far. If I had been thinking clearly I would have taken a reference shot that showed the distribution, to compare with later years, but I wasn't.

Looking at the plants in the northwest group, I thought that there were two clones that could be distinguished, but it was purely subjective and it would be interesting to hear what other people feel.

droseraxbelezeana4270608.jpg

The first form has very green leaf blades and very red tentacles. It seemed to me that it remained green as the leaves matured and aged.

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The second form started green, but rapidly developed a rich red colour.

Over the ridge, a smaller more scattered colony of plants grows to the southeast.

droseraxbelezeana6270608.jpg

The vegetation is thinner with more exposed soil surface. It appeared to me that plants were shorter and flatter, and less likely to form thick mats.

droseraxbelezeana5270608.jpg

It is difficult to get a close look at the plants without disturbing the site, but there are a couple of places where plants grow close enough to the hard ground of the hillside to allow close ups.

droseraxbelezeana8270608.jpg

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Thats a beautiful and red hybrid! I think you are the first person to see Drosera on Google Earth... thanks for sharing. :thumright:

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Part abt plants being visible from Google Earth was v cool - + great pics - thanks for sharing :thumright:

Cas

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Great report! Curious that this hybrid is so rare in Europe despite the fact that both D. rotundifolia and D. intermedia is so widespread, yet it's rather easy to find here in the NJ Pine Barrens as it sticks out like a sore thumb with its large bright red leaves, one of my favorite natural hybrids; and also, just like D. hybrida, these plants are sterile, but they will produce plants from their flower stalks if they are cut off, and put into wet sphagnum. - Rich

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Great report John and excellent pics too :thumright: I have a so called giant version of this - lovely plant. Quite impressive that it can be seen from google earth too.

Heather

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Lovely plants and great photos - I read that they are sterile? I may have just made that up though! Great stuff :)

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Lovely plants and great photos - I read that they are sterile? I may have just made that up though! Great stuff :)

Yes, they are in fact sterile, just like D. hybrida, and most Drosera hybrids. - Rich

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Wow, what amazing pics John! But even more amazing that you've seen them on Google! I've found new CP habitats by looking on GE, but you must be the 1st person to see CPs on there! I won't even bother to ask for the reference since my colorblindness probably wouldn't allow me to see the red patches in the picture anyways...

Anyways, I thought it was interesting that they form such a large population although supposedly sterile. Last year I went with Rich (from the post above -- Hey Rich!! ;) ) to the NJ Pine Barrens and we went to see a population of this hybrid and we were asking ourselves if it was really sterile because they were so abundant. If not, then they certainly reproduce well vegetatively!

How to find out which of the 2 hypotheses?? DNA of course!! :)

Best wishes,

Fernando Rivadavia

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Really interesting!

Can you post an image of your screen showing this population on Google Earth?

@ rsivertsen: Drosera intermedia and Drosera rotundifolia belong to 2 different sections of the genus Drosera. That could explain a difficulty for the hybridization and why this hybrid is more scarce than D. x obovata (D. anglica and D. rotundifolia belong to teh same section).

@ Fernando: I'm growing this hybrid for a few years, and this plant really reproduce well vegetatively! Each leaf that touch the ground produce a few plantlets. And the plantlets produce new plantlets the next year, etc... I think it is the best Drosera to do that.

Regards

Aymeric

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rsivertsen: Drosera intermedia and Drosera rotundifolia belong to 2 different sections of the genus Drosera. That could explain a difficulty for the hybridization and why this hybrid is more scarce than D. x obovata (D. anglica and D. rotundifolia belong to teh same section).

Those 2 sections are artificial. In my DNA phylogeny they showed up relatively close to each other. But the 2nd hybrid is more abundant probably because one of the supposed parents of D.anglica is D.rotundifolia, hahaha!

Fernando: I'm growing this hybrid for a few years, and this plant really reproduce well vegetatively! Each leaf that touch the ground produce a few plantlets. And the plantlets produce new plantlets the next year, etc... I think it is the best Drosera to do that.

Good to know, that would explain a lot of things! :)

Thanks, Fernando

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Those 2 sections are artificial. In my DNA phylogeny they showed up relatively close to each other. But the 2nd hybrid is more abundant probably because one of the supposed parents of D.anglica is D.rotundifolia, hahaha!

Of course, taxonomy is totally artificial, but it is a reflection of the phylogeny. Drosera intermedia and Drosera rotundifolia are much farther to each other than Drosera anglica to Drosera rotundifolia, so that this can explain the rarety of Drosera x beleziana.

Your DNA sequencing might be a great help for the origin of Drosera anglica. If you can sequence D. rotundifolia, D. linearis, D. anglica and D. x anglica (the original steril hybrid that do not have duplicate its chromosomes) from the same region, you might definitively solve this problem.

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